Yesterday was my oldest son’s birthday. This Thursday will mark two years since Tony’s death.
It is hard to hold both of those dates in my heart so close together. The date that we became parents for the first time with the date we all lost him. Joy and melancholy fold in on themselves. This overlapping of emotions is hard to balance.
I want to celebrate his birthday with all the joy he deserves and to be able to give him all my love. Making him his favorite dishes without remembering the last time I made them when Tony was here. I don’t want my grief to leak out and make him sad on a day he should feel special. Always doing my best to keep a brave face this week, even while my heart is also shrouded in grief.
I take quiet moments where I can, to miss Tony and think about what he’s missing as our kids grow. How he would be the one taking our oldest out driving for the first time. How many times they would have gone hunting together, instead of their bows sitting unused for two years. Then I wipe my tears before anyone can see them.
Serving up my homemade chicken and dumplings to serve my favorite oldest boy with a genuine smile. I am grateful for him and the love our now smaller family has for each other. We get out the chocolate pie I bought for dessert. I silently thank my friend who sent him birthday candles in his care package as I light them. Three of us signing happy birthday while our oldest soaks in all the adoration.
He deserves to feel special, and I hope he does. His birthday marks the first expansion of our nuclear family. It was Tony’s push to start trying for kids the first time. He couldn’t wait to be a father and he enjoyed it even when the kids were driving us crazy. So, I do my best holding space to keep my son’s birthday a time of celebration. There is always time to grieve later in the days ahead.